Photo Credit: Nate Harris
Jonathan Wallace hosted supporters across the street from the Oconee County Courthouse Saturday morning to kick off his campaign in the special election to fill Chuck Williams’ vacant District 119 seat.
Wallace, a software developer and member of the board of directors at the tech incubator Four Athens, spoke briefly, outlining some key advocacy points of his campaign, including internet and health care expansion and education reform.
"The state tried to take over the control of our locals schools," he told the crowd, referring to the controversial charter-schools amendment that was defeated at the ballot box last year. "That is unacceptable. Running for this position, I will fight to protect our public schools for our kids." Wallace called for an end to "high-stakes testing."
Every time she drives along 316 toward Athens, Stacey Evans feels a slight thrill, remembering when she first came to the University of Georgia from Ringgold. She was the first person in her family to attend college, and she couldn’t have done so without the HOPE Scholarship.
“This is where life started for me,” she told those attending Thursday’s meeting of the Clarke County Democratic Party. At the university, she became involved with the Young Democrats, thinking that doing so would give her a chance to help families like the one she had come from.
Evans showed a brief video about her background, including her hardscrabble, rural childhood. Viewers learned that her single mother had her as a teenager, held various menial jobs and went through a series of boyfriends, some abusive, before marrying Evans’ stepfather. Evans moved 16 times as a child, one step ahead of bill collectors.
After decades of service as a Democrat, Athens Mayor Nancy Denson is no longer a member of the Athens-Clarke County Democratic Committee.
Members voted Thursday night to remove her after she violated the committee’s bylaws. She did so by hosting a fundraiser for the Republican candidate for House District 117 (formerly held by Regina Quick) though Democrat Deborah Gonzalez is also running.
Denson has said she understood a special election to be nonpartisan, but candidates are nevertheless required to register with a political party in a “jungle primary,” where all candidates are listed on the ballot together, so she was staging an event for a registered Republican, Houston Gaines. She also contributed $1,000 to his campaign. Gaines was her campaign manager in the 2014 mayoral race.
As governor, Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle would sign a “religious liberty” bill—but not one that allows for discrimination, he told the UGA College Republicans on Wednesday.
The religious liberty issue is one that’s vexed Cagle for years. He supported the legislation in 2016, then reversed course earlier this year before once again backing a limited version.
Gov. Nathan Deal bowed to business interests who’d threatened to boycott Georgia when he vetoed the bill last year, angering Christian conservatives and pleasing LGBT Georgians and their allies who believed the bill would have let Christian-run businesses discriminate.
Companies “don't want to see a state that is discriminating in any way," Cagle said when asked about the religious liberty debate.
Cagle and other Republican gubernatorial candidates signed a pledge in August promising they would enact a religious liberty measure if elected.
Photo Credit: The University of Georgia
Less than three months since it took effect, Georgia's campus carry law is facing a lawsuit.
Six professors at Georgia colleges and universities, including three from the University of Georgia, filed a complaint Monday against Gov. Nathan Deal and Attorney General Chris Carr, arguing that the law interferes with the University System Board of Regents’ authority and educational mission, and it endangers students, faculty and staff. The lawsuit, filed in Fulton County, seeks to have the campus carry law declared unconstitutional.
"Reasonable minds can and do differ on this issue [gun control], but this case is not about who is right," the complaint reads. "Rather, it is about which entity decides."
Civic and political groups have scheduled several forums in Athens and Oconee County over the next month for voters to hear from candidates running for two open state House of Representatives seats.
On Thursday, the Oconee County Republican Party will host three or possibly all four of the GOP candidates running for those seats. District 117 candidate Houston Gaines and District 119 candidates Tom Lord and Marcus Wiedower have confirmed they will attend, while fellow District 119 candidate Steven Strickland is trying to rearrange his schedule, according to Oconee County journalist Lee Becker. The forum is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. at the Oconee County Chamber of Commerce.
Jonathan Wallace, who's running as a Democrat in District 119, will officially kick off his campaign with a rally at 11 a.m. Saturday at the Oconee County Courthouse:
Former congressman and Athens-Clarke County commissioner John Barrow is running for secretary of state, he announced at a Clarke County Democrats barbecue on Sunday.
Barrow, a Democrat who's shown a knack for winning in conservative areas, will be a strong candidate for the open position. Current Secretary of State Brian Kemp, another Athenian, is leaving the post to run for governor.
Barrow said in a press release that he refuses to “stand on the sidelines when we face such huge challenges” and vowed to protect the right to vote, cut regulations and crack down on fraud.
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